The more people that sign up for and are active on social media websites, the more they will impact on almost every aspect of our lives. With businesses and advertisers quickly recognizing that social media offers a unique opportunity to connect and interact with the masses on a personal level.
Social media sites have already transformed the way that people communicate, with many now choosing to send a Facebook message or a Tweet than to make a phone call.
But how has social media affected the business world? And has it already changed the way that businesses go about their networking.
Making it personal
One of the major changes that social media has had on business networking is that it’s made it personal.
Corporations and organisations are no longer faceless entities represented only by a logo and company policy, they are now friends, and as such are able to interact with the public and with each other on a more social and informal level.
A lot of companies have already utilised the PR possibilities offered by social media sites in order to improve their corporate image as well as to promote their products and services and advertise their website.
Mutually beneficial promotion
Though businesses have long had various alliances and collaborations, social media has pushed this to a whole new level with many companies now promoting and supporting each other on social media sites.
This is because, if one company ‘likes’ or shares another’s content, that company will be more likely to do the same thing, opening up the original company’s profile to a whole new audience.
A big part of business networking is concerned with the search for employers and employees, and this is an area that has been significantly affected by social media.
In the past, when looking to move jobs or to hire a new employees, you would either have to go to a specialist agency or put a lot of effort into networking in person.
However these days, with the introduction of business-oriented sites like LinkedIn, it’s possible to approach people from another company on an informal basis without even leaving your desk.
In fact many employers will now check the social media profiles of potential employees, and vice versa, as another part of the hiring process.
Blurring the boundaries of work and social life
One area of social media that businesses have to be wary of is the line between personal and private personas.
These days, many companies expect their employees to use their own personal profiles to promote the company’s content, and to connect with the company on various social media platforms in order to further boost the number of followers and views that the company gets.
And though some employees may be fine with this it’s important for a company to appreciate that an employee’s social media profile is part of their private life, and if they will be required to become involved in the company’s online presence, this should be made clear at the outset.
By engaging with the public, you can make them part of your social media network
Getting the public involved
By using social media to involve the public in a marketing campaign or in product development, a business can use the power of the internet to get a lot of opinions, ideas and contributions quickly.
This essentially means that whoever is in charge of maintaining the social media profile is networking with the public, making them an active part of the business.
Social media has, and is, changing the world of business networking, and we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how far these changes go.
But one that is for sure is that if you want to get ahead with your career or get the best employees, you need to get your online profile up and running and get networking.
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